Working as a prosecutor

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tylerdurden8
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Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:06 pm

Working as a prosecutor

Postby tylerdurden8 » Sat Sep 22, 2012 6:28 pm

Any insight and opinions on the field?
Anyone else considering it?

How competitive would it being getting a job as a prosecutor in New York.
I've heard the salary is substantially lower than most attorney jobs, anyone have an idea of the general range?

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mrtoren
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Re: Working as a prosecutor

Postby mrtoren » Sat Sep 22, 2012 7:54 pm

I interned with an IL state's attorney's office for over a year and came away with mixed feelings.

Pay: The pay is terrible. In my office, new ASA's started at $36,000/year. IIRC, Manhattan starts their guys at $60,000/year. However, you'll still be living paycheck to paycheck if you want to stay in NYC.

Hours: The low level prosecutors in my office put in substantial, unpaid overtime. Most worked the standard 8am-5pm shift and then did a couple of hours of prep work for the next day at home. Weekends were sacrificed on occasion.

Work: Repetitive and boring for entry level prosecutors. I worked in Major Traffic and we handled 50-100 cases on a daily basis. DUI's, DWLS, 30+ mph speeding tickets, leaving the scene, and so on. Every case needed a work-up: prior criminal history, facts of the case, terms of our offer, etc. Then you had to talk to the defendants and deal with their BS stories. A thick skin is invaluable. You'll verbally spar with more than one defendant and few try to hide their distaste for you. You have to be okay with playing the role of the bad guy. You're no white knight to these people. However, I liked the work atmosphere. You're either on the run or just sitting around. I would lose hours at a time when our docket was heavy. Other days, we'd just hang out in the court room and shoot the breeze with the PD's or the judge.

I would recommend interning for at least one semester before you commit yourself to the dream. Once you end up in criminal law, its tough to break out. You can play for one side or the other...maybe find a gig in litigation. Regardless, make sure its right for you. I'm still interested in becoming a prosecutor, but times are tough. The jobs are more competitive now than ever before. Private sector attorneys are seeing their paychecks shrink and they're salivating at the chance to snag a career with a modest salary, great benefits, and job security.Likewise, new graduates are seeing the six figure phantom for what it is and are setting their sights on more practical options. In NYC, you're going to need to be a very competitive candidate with respect to all of the other graduates in the area. I don't admire those prospects.

tylerdurden8
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:06 pm

Re: Working as a prosecutor

Postby tylerdurden8 » Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:54 pm

thanks a lot!
The response was extremely helpful, relevant information on the internet has been difficult to find.

Another question, you said you worked in major traffic, is that an area where entry level prosecutors would start of or does it simply depend on where you apply?

Are there entry level prosecutor jobs on the corporate side or is that a position reserved for more experienced attorneys?

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iShotFirst
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Re: Working as a prosecutor

Postby iShotFirst » Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:49 pm

By 'entry-level prosecutors on the corporate side' i assume you mean white collar crime etc, those jobs are for more senior prosecutors. In the offices big enough to have separate units/specialties, prosecutors start out doing misdemeanors and traffic- the stuff that doesnt matter as much if you screw up- and move on to more serious crimes/specialties.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Working as a prosecutor

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:04 am

I don't have experience as a prosecutor, but you don't do it for the $$$. On some basic level, you have to be working for a sense of civic duty. If you represent the People, you're serving something greater than you.

I bet it feels good nailing some drunk driver, or murderer, or tax cheat, or wife beater, or other type of criminal. A part of you probably has to be motivated by promoting the social welfare, and the dollar figure you place on that? No one knows but you.

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mrtoren
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Re: Working as a prosecutor

Postby mrtoren » Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:40 am

tylerdurden8 wrote:thanks a lot!
The response was extremely helpful, relevant information on the internet has been difficult to find.

Another question, you said you worked in major traffic, is that an area where entry level prosecutors would start of or does it simply depend on where you apply?

Are there entry level prosecutor jobs on the corporate side or is that a position reserved for more experienced attorneys?

Our guys started in Misdemeanors, Major Traffic, or Minor Traffic/Violations.

Oddly enough for a government gig, our office actually valued talent over seniority. We had some ASA's make the jump to felonies within a couple of years. Conversely, some traffic ASA's had years on the job. From what I recall, there was an annual shake-up in January that moved ASA's between divisions. Everyone was really edgy around that time, especially the newer guys. If you didn't land the division you wanted, you were stuck for another year. Kind of disheartening.

Our office, like most prosecutor's offices, had a high voluntary turn over rate. Keep that in mind.

Gorki
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Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:41 pm

Re: Working as a prosecutor

Postby Gorki » Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:49 am

tylerdurden8 wrote:Any insight and opinions on the field?
Anyone else considering it?

How competitive would it being getting a job as a prosecutor in New York.
I've heard the salary is substantially lower than most attorney jobs, anyone have an idea of the general range?


You should look at this thread. There is some good advice buried in it.

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=155423

dreakol
Posts: 572
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 1:56 pm

Re: Working as a prosecutor

Postby dreakol » Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:52 pm

NotMyRealName09 wrote:I don't have experience as a prosecutor, but you don't do it for the $$$. On some basic level, you have to be working for a sense of civic duty. If you represent the People, you're serving something greater than you.

I bet it feels good nailing some drunk driver, or murderer, or tax cheat, or wife beater, or other type of criminal. A part of you probably has to be motivated by promoting the social welfare, and the dollar figure you place on that? No one knows but you.


Dui and tax fraud do not belong in the same sentence as murder and domestic violence

Geist13
Posts: 739
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:21 pm

Re: Working as a prosecutor

Postby Geist13 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:56 pm

dreakol wrote:Dui and tax fraud do not belong in the same sentence as murder and domestic violence


Here are two sentences. Ask yourself which is more similar to the sentence you have quoted and are objecting to. Then ask yourself if your statement is as idiotic as I think it is.

DUI, Tax Fraud, Murder, and domestic violence are all crimes and deserve to be punished.

DUI, Tax Fraud, Murder, and domestic violence exhibit similar levels of depravity.


To Op:

I've worked in two DA offices, both in pretty major metro areas, but neither of the Manhattan/Chicago size. Think 150-200 attorneys each. From my experience, the type of work and the level of sophistication depends both on what division you are within and what the office culture is like. If you work in a division that deals with economic crimes, the work is complex, interesting, and long term. If, on the other hand, you are on the misdemeanor calendar, its gonna be pretty routine and clerical, but if you don't want to be stuck there forever and you are decent at your job they won't keep you there for your entire career (and if they would, its not an office you should be working at).

Another essential factor is the type of office you are in. If your office is pretty well funded and staffed the office is going to attract better, more professional attorneys; this makes it a nice place to work. Other offices may attract a seedier quality attorney (either because of who wants to work there or because of who makes the hiring decisions). It all depends. I've worked in both environments (in cities of basically identical size).

In terms of competition, its competitive all over the place. In the large offices its competitive because they get a lot of applications. In offices that are not quite that big but still pretty big its competitive because they get a ton of applications but will only hire a handful of students. In smaller offices its competitive because they usually aren't even hiring and if they are its just to fill an open position. To give you an idea of what the process is like for a large office, read the following, which is taken from the Bronx County District Attorney's Office's recruiting website:

In 2011, approximately 1,100 individuals from 96 law schools applied for the position of Bronx assistant district attorney for the Class of 2012. Of these applicants, 728 (66%) had first-round interviews, 391 (35%) had second (panel) interviews, and 101 (9%) were interviewed by the District Attorney. Mr. Johnson appointed 52 (5%) of the original applicants as assistant district attorneys for the Class of 2012.


I can guarantee you those 5% of hires are no slouches. Hell the 9% that got final round interviews are all going to be incredibly qualified. Grades, demonstrated commitment, courtroom experience, right personality etc.

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iShotFirst
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Re: Working as a prosecutor

Postby iShotFirst » Sun Nov 18, 2012 10:31 am

Tax Fraud and Murder exhibit similar levels of depravity??? Come on

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Mike12188
Posts: 792
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 3:07 am

Re: Working as a prosecutor

Postby Mike12188 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:20 am

iShotFirst wrote:Tax Fraud and Murder exhibit similar levels of depravity??? Come on


RC fail.

NotMyRealName09
Posts: 1394
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:50 pm

Re: Working as a prosecutor

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 3:45 pm

Jesus, they are all crimes, deeerrrrr. Thus all belong in a sentence mentioning how it must feel good to prosecute crimes. Der.




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